By Bonny Burrows
Yvonne Porter loves netball.
But knowing she “was never going to play for the Diamonds”, the Longwarry North resident has made her impact on the game in another way – through coaching.
Appointed head coach of the Longwarry Netball Club last year, Ms Porter has been instrumental in leading the club through a time of change and leading its players through the ranks.
It’s this leadership and commitment that saw her win Netball Victoria’s Coach of the Year Award late last year, and become a finalist in this year’s Victorian Sport Awards in the category of Community Coach of the Year.
Longwarry Netball Club President Tracey Stephens nominated Ms Porter for the latter and said she couldn’t think of a more deserving recipient.
“At Longwarry she has been able to shift our culture and work ethic which has shown improvement on the court,” Ms Stephens said.
“She has been a great role model, mentor and she continues to be able to get the best out of her players, which enables personal improvement as well as team and club morale to be on the improve. “
Ms Porter is humbled by the nomination, but says she doesn’t coach for the recognition.
“I see it as a way to stay in a sport I love so much,” Ms Porter said.
“I want to help people become the best athlete and person they can be.
“To me, it’s all about those grassroots moments, those little wins, when a player scores their first goal or plays their first full game.”
As a Victorian Sport Awards finalist, Ms Porter will attend the official presentation evening on 14 March at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
When asked if she thought she was in for a chance to take home the gong, Ms Porter quickly dismissed the possibility.
“Golly no. It was a huge shock to be nominated let alone be a finalist,” she said.
“I’m just excited for an excuse to put on a nice dress, some fake eyelashes and celebrate with the ladies.”
Ms Porter said she would continue to coach for “as long as they’ll have me”.
“I’d love to still be doing it when I’m 900 years old. I adore it,” Ms Porter said.
“I honestly think you’re crazy if you don’t want to coach.”